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Hamilton: Vettel rivalry was the best

NEWS STORY
16/04/2021

Seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton cites Sebastian Vettel as the driver with whom he enjoyed the most satisfying rivalry.

Ahead of what is hoped will be another intense battle with young pretender, Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton was asked what he considered the greatest rivalry in F1.

The Briton, who, over the course of his 15-season F1 career, has battled the likes of teammates, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and, of course, Nico Rosberg, not forgetting Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and currently Verstappen, insists that it was Sebastian Vettel with whom he personally enjoyed the greatest rivalry.

"I've got a really bad memory," admitted the Mercedes driver, "but I'm going to say mine and Seb's battles are my favourite so far.

"Knowing that I was racing against an incredible driver, and not only that but a great man in Seb... and we were racing against another team, he was at Ferrari who were very strong at the time.

"It took a lot out of both of us in that period of time, to remain focused, to deliver weekend in, weekend out, and whilst it was a difficult period for us, I think it probably brought us closer as well because the respect we have between us is huge.

"It's different now," he admitted as he lined up none too thinly veiled swipe at his current nemesis, "and if I'm racing with Max, he doesn't have the background that Seb has, but he has obviously got the chance of being a future champion. Whether that's now or later, depends, ultimately, on the job that the team and I do."

Vettel, who was sitting alongside Hamilton, cited the rivalry between his hero, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen, as well as the legendary Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, battles.

"Back then there was a certain intensity," said the German, "because people weren't as tolerant as they are today and probably not as mature. There was a lot of bitterness and hatred as well.

"We've come a long way since then to maybe not have these intense fights any more, mostly off the track.

"I think on track the fights are still very intense but you will probably not see something like that any more in the future."

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